The Phantom Band – Fears Trending [Chemikal Underground]

The Phantom Band’s second album in the space of 12-months, Fears Trending, is a welcome surprise giving the period that punctuated the releases of The Wants (2010) and Strange Friend.

That being said The Phantom Band’s six members have all been solid since the finishing up of The Wants.

Recorded during the same sessions as Strange Friend, Fears carries the same strengths; The Phantom Band sound like a complete six-piece, contributing parts and creating space for one another in order to create an album that’s complexity and intricacies build over time, however avoid lagging the flow of the album.

The feel of a band unit was lacking in the first two albums, The Wants, as great an album as it is, felt very cut and paste, a large part due to the change in personnel at the time.

Keyboards and drums are the predominant textures of TF; though ‘Denise Hopper’ concludes country Americana themes with a guitar section that has to be a reference to Neil Young’s soundtrack for Jim Jarmucsh’s Dead Man.

The reverbed feedback and sparse picking, a mirror of the echoing vocals that occurred earlier in the track.

If one wishes to think of FT and SF as complimentary pieces of a greater body of work, by ‘Black Tape’ it is clear that Fears is the downer sister.

‘The Kingfisher’, left off SF in order for it to be mixed to the band’s high standards, is the focus of the album; clocking in at seven-and-a-half-minutes it represents all that the album has built the listener up to.

Solid grooves making a way through a vast sonic space, the range of instrumentation takes turns on providing melodic leads; the gothic carnival pulse gives the captive feeling to the listener in spite of the space and vastness of scope that the band display.

It really could end on a sullen note, if not for the static vocals to lead into ‘Olden Gold’; the melancholic track sounding like the classic Mogwai albums, which came from Chem19 and Paul Savage.

Note: It has chartered top 40 in the UK charts, Congratulations to the band.

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